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Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback, Self-Regulation, and Severe Brain Injury

Sonya Kim, Ph.D., CRC,¹ Joseph F. Rath, Ph.D.,² Rollin McCraty, Ph.D.,³ Vance Zemon, Ph.D.,&sup4; Marie M. Cavallo, Ph.D.,&sup5 and Frederick W. Foley, Ph.D. &sup4,&sup6

¹Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY; ²Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY; ³HeartMath Research Center, Boulder Creek, CA; &sup4; Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, Yeshiva University, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY; &sup5;AHRC, NYC, New York, NY; &sup6;Multiple Sclerosis Comprehensive Care Center, Holy Name Medical Center, Teaneck, NJ

Biofeedback Association for Applied Psychophysiology & Biofeedback Volume 43, Issue 1, pp. 6–14. www.aapb.org

For a PDF version of the complete paper, click here.

This article describes a study using heart rate variability (HRV) biofeedback to treat emotional dysregulation in 13 individuals with severe chronic brain injury. Measures included HRV indices, tests of attention and problem solving, and informant reports of behavioral regulation. Results demonstrated that individuals with severe brain injury were able to learn HRV biofeedback and increase coherence between the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems. Individuals who attained the greatest coherence were rated as being able to best regulate their emotions and behavior.